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How do I use a D-SLR?

Forums Forums Get Technical Tips & Tricks How do I use a D-SLR?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
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  • #1095
    schnee
    Participant

    Long time photographer, first time D-SLR user…

    I’ve shot negative and slide film for a bit and am somewhat comfortable with those media, I’ve scanned and digitally processed images, but the time-pressures of Farktography have precipitated acquiring a DSLR (I used some other excuse to actually get it, but really, it is all about Farktography).

    What do I need to know?

    Sensor cleaning seems to be absolutely required. Sensor loupe (of sorts) and one of those Rocket thingies? Backstopped by some Pec Pads and cleaner (or equivalent)?

    Histogram – how do I know if it is a “good one” and what do I do (in camera) to correct it?

    White balance? I’ve seen Zeke‘s guide, but what else?

    RAW images? What are the ways to take a (Canon) RAW image and make something useful from them?

    My research starts here.

    #13272
    Curious
    Participant

    i have this “super giant” blower. got it locally for <$20 and it works fine. here is a complete cleaning kit that is a bunch higher locally. didn’t get that since i wanted to try just the blower first. my personal experience is the blower does all i need. YMMV. here is a good article on sensor cleaning when this subject came up a while back i had a link to a video of a guy cleaning his camera sensor but can’t find it now. perhaps someone else has it.

    histogram and WB i’ll pass on.

    pretty much any semi high end photo manipulation program with see RAW and from there you can do all the things that you would using .jpg plus some. there are folks here who love RAW for the control it gives. you might also because of the many options to control the image in post processing. me. i’m not that finicky. plus you end up with huge files that have to be post processed before you can anything with them such as share them via flickr or email. also since the files are so large with some cameras the time to write to the card can be protracted. then again with a good DSLR capable of 3+ frames per second in continuous mode that usually isn’t a problem.

    #13273
    Analogy
    Participant

    Re: Sensor cleaning, in this day and age cameras without automatic sensor cleaning are obsolete. If you’re in the entry level market get a Rebel XTi, otherwise wait for the 40D.

    Re: Histogram, start keeping your photoshop histogram open to get used to reading them. In general you want to keep the histogram fairly level, too much of a slope toward either end means you’re over/underexposing. Of course, this is a gross oversimplification and the real shape you want out of a histogram really depends on your subject matter. I mostly just read the histogram to make sure my highlights are registering at just below clipping. Clipping the highlights means losing tonal information, but pegging the highlights too low means I’ll end up with grain after I bring the image back up in post.

    Re: White balance. Auto white balance rarely fails me, and if you’re shooting raw you don’t really need to worry about getting it perfect in the field anyway. The only place auto white consistently performs poorly is indoors where Canon has set AWB’s lower color temperature bound far too high, resulting in orange-looking interiors. I will usually go into K white balance here, setting it to 2000K. The only time I do a full manual white balance is in situations with unusual color. Oh, and when I have the luxury of being able to sit down and go through Canon’s clumsy manual WB procedure.

    Re: RAW, Canon includes a pretty decent (if basic) RAW conversion program with the camera. It’ll give you everything you absolutely need. Recent versions of Photoshop also come with their RAW tool which also offers some decent basic correction. If you really want to get serious about digital photography, however, you’ll want a full photo workflow program. I personally use DxO Optics and it offers enough features that it is extremely rare that I will need to use anything else. Photoshop only gets used for picture manipulation such as spot treatments, compositing, etc.

    Honestly, however, 99% of my shooting is JPG. It’s much faster and easier to work with in post, and if you know how to get your pictures right in the camera you don’t really need the extra lattitude of RAW. I only shoot RAW when I know I am going to need the extra fidelity in post or if I have a very good reason to put up with the extra processing time.

    #13274
    Curious
    Participant

    Re: Sensor cleaning, in this day and age cameras without automatic sensor cleaning are obsolete.

    so you’re going to buy me a replacement for my 13 month old Maxxum7D? sweet … 🙂

    #13275
    Analogy
    Participant

    so you’re going to buy me a replacement for my 13 month old Maxxum7D? sweet … 🙂

    Not until after I replace my 8-month-old 30D. =D

    #13276
    RcMacStudent
    Participant

    Not until after I replace my 8-month-old 30D. =D

    I’ll swap you a modern, self-cleaning, XTI (only 4 months old) for your 30D which is obviously an antique – I mean it is after all 8 months old…. 😆

    #13277
    Analogy
    Participant

    Lawl. I’m not saying get rid of all the cameras currently in the field, I’m just saying if you’re gonna be buying a brand new one, don’t get stuck with last generation gear when you could just wait a little bit and get something that’ll be top of the line. At least until they announce the 50D. =D

    #13278
    schnee
    Participant

    Thanks for the responses.

    I’m actually going D-SLR for a gig. Time, budget and output resolution were all determined by people other than me – I looked at the requirements of the project, drew up a list of candidate bodies and “they” chose the 5D. It is a bit long in tooth, but I’m just the photographer. Woe is me… 😉

    I’ll be checking out the blowers and DxO.

    #13279
    Curious
    Participant

    schnee would that gig be the conference room shots? and what lens(es) will you have?

    #13280
    schnee
    Participant

    schnee would that gig be the conference room shots? and what lens(es) will you have?

    Yes, that’s it. “They” bought the 24-105 f4L “kit” lens, and I have access to an 90mm T/S, a 70-200 f4L, a 24-85mm, and a 70-200 f2.8 and I think the 24-70 f2.8L and the 85mm 1.2L(!) (but I’d have to bring along an “assistant” to get those last three – he owns them).

    #13281
    millera9
    Participant

    The 24-70 f2.8L is worth putting up with the assistant.

    #13282
    Analogy
    Participant

    The 24-70 f2.8L is worth putting up with the assistant.

    This. I just got one myself. Fantastic friggin lens. Ditto for the 70-200 f/2.8. In fact any lens f/2.8 or faster.

    If you’re stuck with a body without sensor cleaning, I’ve been using these swabs that are the exact width of the sensor. Put some rubbing alcohol on the swab and run it back and forth a couple times. Blowers don’t always work because the dust is stuck to the low pass filter via static charge. That’s why in-camera anti-dust solutions involve discharging the static electricity as step one of the process.

    #13283
    millera9
    Participant

    The 24-70 f2.8L is worth putting up with the assistant.

    This. I just got one myself. Fantastic friggin lens. Ditto for the 70-200 f/2.8. In fact any lens f/2.8 or faster.

    If you’re stuck with a body without sensor cleaning, I’ve been using these swabs that are the exact width of the sensor. Put some rubbing alcohol on the swab and run it back and forth a couple times. Blowers don’t always work because the dust is stuck to the low pass filter via static charge. That’s why in-camera anti-dust solutions involve discharging the static electricity as step one of the process.

    Yup, that’s the type of cleaner I’ve been using as well. It’s basically a little pad on a stick and a bottle of methanol. Two drops on the pad, swipe pad across sensor. Profit! Seems to work pretty well so far, though I’ve only used it once.

    #13284
    SilverStag
    Participant

    Do you guys really have problems with dust? I change lenses as much as the next guy, and I can count the number of times I’ve encountered sensor dust over the past two years on the thumbs of one hand.

    #13285
    Analogy
    Participant

    If you tend to run your aperture wide open you will have very few problems with dust because the dust will be out of focus. At smaller apertures, especially toward f/16, the depth of field is smaller and dust comes into focus. You might be surprised at how much dust shows up if you stop down to f/16 and shoot a blank wall.

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